TOPSHAM

A new eight-unit, low and moderate income residential housing project has been proposed for 37 Pleasant St. by Topsham Housing Authority, and some neighbors aren’t happy about it.

John Hodge, the director of both Topsham and Brunswick housing authorities, said Wednesday that the project would be constructed on a 2.9-acre wooded lot.

It’s a nice parcel downtown with access to public water and sewer and abuts the Williams-Cone School property, he said.

No waivers or exceptions are requested.

Topsham Housing Authority is targeting households earning between 50 and 80 percent of median income, for the new housing — which he characterized as workforce housing. Only two of the units will have project-based vouchers so the housing authority can assist homeless families. The other six units will have no subsidy.

“We are looking at family housing,” Hodge said.

Hodge said there will be six units with two bedrooms with monthly rent between $750 and $800. Two, threebedroom apartments will have a monthly rent of $1,000 to $1,100.

The proposed Pleasant Woods project recently went before the Topsham Planning Board for a sketch plan review.

Four Pleasant Street residents spoke out against the project or voiced concerns ranging from trail access to traffic and road safety.

“A parking lot for 19 cars in that tiny kind of charming, adorable neighborhood, one of the few charming neighborhoods that abuts a historical district, seems extremely out of character for me,” Emily Carter of Grieg Street said.

She added that it’s a very small street with lots of kids. Although there is a sidewalk, the curve on that section of road amounts to “a dangerous situation.”

“The thought of having an apartment building on the street is just devastating to us,” said abutter Amy Farrell. “I think it would depreciate the value of all of the homes on that road.”

She added: “We oppose it and we will oppose it until it hopefully doesn’t happen, and that’s how we feel about it on our street.”

“People … are looking for a neighborhood to become a part of, not to ransack, destroy and otherwise run amuck throughout,” said engineer Curt Neufeld of the firm Sitelines PA. “It would certainly be my hope that if this project goes forward, that new neighbors make new friends and have new nice people in your neighborhood.”

According to Hodge, Topsham Housing Authority has seven units in town — three on Main Street and four on Green Street, so this project would double its housing units in Topsham.

The planning board raised concerns about the configuration of the roughly 8,000-square-foot building, and suggested bringing it nearer the road and putting parking in the rear.

Neufeld said THA has agreed through its funding sources to only develop one acre of the 2.9-acre parcel. The remainder will be placed in conservation and THA would continue to provide access to the trail.

The project has a $1.23 million price tag. The THA has received a $500,000 grant through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Affordable Housing Program for the project. Hodge said the bank also is providing a $500,000 subsidized loan. Bath Savings, the housing authority’s financial partner, will provide a loan to make up the difference.

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